The house that Mikey built
Another Vegas politico bites the dust,
but this time it may not be gold dust.
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
January 31, 2005
Mayor Oscar Goodman consoles
Councilwoman-elect Lois Tarkanian consoles
on election loss, 2003
Janet Moncrief after being recalled
on LV Review-Journal photo by K.M. Cannon)
LAS VEGAS - In Sin City politics, no bad deed
ever went un-rewarded -- until now.
Ex-councilman Mike McDonald may best be remembered
for favors he granted the infamous Crazy
Horse Too topless bar including his once calling its purported owner
a "Pillar of the community." McDonald
is also remembered for arranging the sale of 160 acres of valuable taxpayer
owned land for only $5,600 per acre to a connected
golf course developer, and for spearheading a new billion dollar trash
collection franchise five years before it was due for renewal, and
without competitive bidding.
When voters in 2003 were reminded of his shenanigans,
he was easily defeated in his run for a third term. McDonald's rewards,
however, came after he left office, possibly in the form of paybacks from
those he profited.
was part of the team that helped elect McDonald's replacement, just
ousted Councilwoman Janet
Moncrief. In her 20 months at City Hall, she will best be remembered
she doesn't know Steve Miller, then hiring the Crazy Horse Too's PR
man as her advisor, fund raiser, and "transition
team leader," while going after the liquor licenses of two of his client's
main competitors, Cheetah's
This inspired me to help put a premature end to her disappointing political
career. Nonetheless, she did succeed in closing Treasures, and slamming
Cheetah's with a million dollar fine. If she'd stayed on the council, I
anticipated her next assignment would be to propose using eminent
domain to remove the Crazy Horse's long time nemesis,
garage owner Buffalo Jim Barrier.
Barrier in front of his garage
located next to Crazy Horse Too
Garage opened in 1976, topless bar opened in 1987
(Photo by Mike Christ)
In Vegas, political favors are long remembered
by those who benefited. Former Mayor Ron Lurie helped the powerful Becker
family gain zoning to build Arizona Charlie's, the first neighborhood casino.
Now he holds a top position there.
Former Mayor Jan Jones used
her mayoral title to help her friends build casinos on California roads
leading into Nevada. Now she holds a top position with Harrah's.
Mike McDonald was no exception. When elected in
1995, he made around $40,000 per year as a cop.
Mike's digs when he was first elected,
valued at $46,140
After failing to win a third term, and after being
named a subject
in the FBI's ongoing political corruption probe, Mike is now busy building
a twelve car garage at the rear of his recently
purchased one-acre estate. The house that Mikey built in Vegas' ritziest
neighborhood is certainly an inspiration to aspiring politicians, proving
it really pays
to be a member of the Sin City Council, a fact that's certain to titillate
the relentless feds, especially the IRS.
Mike's new digs after two terms
on the council, valued at over $1 million with improvements
It took extraordinary measures to oust McDonald,
et. al., especially with his million dollar war chest. After such an effort,
it was a shock to see his replacement's stint on the council cut short
by her own doing. Nonetheless, she still had adequate time to show loyalties
to her predecessor's cronies through her efforts to shut down their competitors.
However, despite her efforts, Treasures will probably reopen
soon, Cheetah's is still open, and the Crazy Horse is in big trouble.
As problems escalated at the Crazy Horse Too,
Moncrief dutifully told
a reporter, "We're not putting other sexually oriented businesses on
trial. I don't know that our industry is that big of a problem."
Moncrief probably did only what she was asked
to do by her "advisor," but now her payback may never come. Last week,
the FBI and IRS all but crippled her benefactor's chance of rewarding her.
The feds have begun to drop
the hammer on the Crazy Horse Too with the first of many expected indictments
for racketeering and political corruption. Therefore, the chances of Moncrief
also building her dream house may have faded.
Crazy Horse Too manager taken down
by FBI and IRS, 01/19/05
(Review-Journal photo by John Gurzinski)
I'm proud to have had a part in Mike and Janet's
ultimate removal from Vegas politics. Though my efforts to finally elect
someone with no connections to the Mob have proven arduous and personally
embarrassing, the outcome was certainly worth the effort.
Congratulations Councilwoman-elect Lois Tarkanian!
Lois Tarkanian hugs her husband,
former UNLV men's basketball
coach Jerry Tarkanian, after the
final results were announced in
the Las Vegas City Council Ward
1 recall election on Tuesday.
ETHAN MILLER / LAS VEGAS SUN
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